Virginia Tech students made a somber return to campus, pausing yesterday for a moment of silence to remember the 32 students murdered a week ago in a gunman's rampage.
Students and faculty gathered at about 7:10am near the dormitory where the first victims, Ryan Clark and Emily Hilscher, were killed. They also gathered on the main campus lawn, the site of several impromptu memorials to the victims.
In front of the dorm, a small marching band from Alabama played "America the Beautiful" and carried a banner that read, "Alabama loves VT Hokies. Be strong, press on."
By the time the moment concluded, more than 100 people had gathered to remember the dead. Afterward, a group of students and campus ministers brought 33 white prayer flags -- one for each of the dead, including the gunman, Cho Seung-hui -- from the dorm to the school's War Memorial Chapel. They placed the flags in front of the campus landmark and adorned them with pastel-colored ribbons.
"You could choose to either be sad, or cheer up a little and continue the regular routine," said student Juan Carlos Ugarte, 22. "Right now, I think all of us need to cheer up."
Ugarte wrote a message on a yellow ribbon for one of the victims, Reema Samaha. "God will forever be with you. I will always pray for you, and remember."
At 9:45am -- the time of the second shooting -- the university planned a moment of silence, with a single bell tolling from the tower of the main administration building. A minute later, the bell was due to toll 32 times -- once for each victim -- as 32 white balloons were released from the field below.
Classes were to resume yesterday, one week after Cho killed himself after his murderous rampage.
University officials were not sure how many students planned to be back yesterday. Virginia Tech is allowing students to drop classes without penalty or to accept their current grades if they want to spend the rest of the year at their parents' homes grieving last week's campus massacre.
But whatever decisions they make academically, many students say they will do their mourning on campus -- and that they cannot imagine staying away now.
"I want to go back to class just to be with the other students. If you just left without going back to classes, you would just go home and keep thinking about it," said Ryanne Floyd, who returned to campus after spending most of last week with her family and avoiding news coverage of the tragedy. "At least here, being with other students, we can get some kind of closure."
Students began returning as more details about the rampage emerged. Doctor William Massello, the assistant state medical examiner in Roanoke, said Cho died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head after firing enough shots to wound his 32 victims more than 100 times.
But there was nothing unusual about Cho's autopsy, he said, and nothing that indicated any psychological problems that might explain his reason for the killings.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
‘FIGHT FOR FREEDOM’: Hong Kongers will never bow to Beijing, the advocate said, while the US’ envoy to the territory called China’s new security law a ‘tragedy’ The world must stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers after Beijing imposed sweeping national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory, advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said yesterday, vowing to continue campaigning for democracy. Wong, one of the territory’s most prominent young advocates and a figure loathed by Beijing, was speaking outside a court where he and fellow advocates are being prosecuted for involvement in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China last week enacted sweeping security legislation for the restless territory, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The legislation has sent a wave of fear through the territory, and criminalized dissenting
A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures